The first phase of Sugar House Island, a collection of eight historic and new office buildings targeted at the creative industries, is launched today by Vastint UK.
Vastint UK is committed to creating a thriving long-term district in east London, just south of the Olympic Park. The decision to launch with commercial space is fundamental to the team’s focus on curating a commercially-sustainable balance for this new part of London. The scheme will deliver a total of 624,000 ft² (58,000 m²) commercial space, which is 40% of its total area, bringing 2,500 jobs to Newham.
The first phase of Sugar House Island delivers 100,000 ft² (9,000 m²) of offices designed with creative businesses in mind. Called Dane’s Yard, the creative quarter fuses the industrial heritage of a Conservation Area with clean and modern designs into a sensitively-restored, contemporary hub in which small and medium-sized businesses can thrive. The eight buildings in Dane’s Yard offer attractively-priced diverse accommodation with fast connectivity, in a canal-side location which is set to be a fantastic place to live and work.
Commercial rents will reflect local area prices, starting at £30 per square foot according to the type of space. Offices will range from small, individual workshops through to more formal spaces. In some cases, commercial rents will be less than half the rate of core city fringe areas. With Sugar House Island’s great assets and connectivity, this makes a compelling proposition for creative businesses across London.
Dane’s Yard will be available for occupation at the end of 2018, when the Elizabeth Line comes into operation, complementing the eight stations already within walking distance of the site. The future community will benefit from a broadband connection of up to 10Gbps and site-wide WiFi, allowing creatives and future residents to work efficiently from their desk or one of the site’s coffee shops.
Andrew Cobden, Managing Director of Vastint UK Services Ltd., said: “We know we have to bring life and activity and so are initiating early discussions with independent owners of cafés, bars and restaurants that will support attractively-priced, characterful office accommodation with great connectivity – supplying exactly what creative businesses need. It is the balance of daytime, evening and weekend activity that makes a place feel alive. Our intention is to retain ownership for the long term, allowing us to prioritise those key ingredients that attract creative businesses; and next year, home owners. Vastint invested in Sugar House Island because it is to be the centrepiece of a wider area, focused around the 2,500 new jobs that will be accommodated on site when construction is complete.”
Sugar House Island is unusual among current London developments. A cosmopolitan team of architects, designers and place-makers has taken time and care to curate a place they hope everyone will enjoy. They carefully managed the balance between working, living and leisure activities to create an integrated and animated neighbourhood. The overall scheme is designed by nine different architects, a deliberate decision to introduce variation into the look and feel of the buildings as well as the spaces between them.
Dane’s Yard is the creation of three design practices. Masterplanner ARC-ML, design architect Waugh Thistleton Architects, and landscape architect Planit-IE. This team refurbished old warehouse buildings in this Conservation Area, combining them with modern extensions to make sustainable and practical working environments for today’s businesses. They also preserved the site’s layout, retaining old yards and alleyways to keep the distinctive character of this old industrial area.
Michael Lees, Owner, ARC-ML, said: “Dane’s Yard marks the first phase in the creation of Sugar House Island’s broader new neighbourhood. The irregular spaces between the buildings impart heritage. New buildings, modest and regular, are woven in around the retained buildings to form a cohesive quarter that marries the charm of the past with the expectations of the future.”
Andrew Waugh, Founding Partner, Waugh Thistleton Architects, said: “It is a fantastic challenge to build a creative quarter from the ground up and, drawing on our experience as a pivotal player in the Shoreditch renaissance, we have worked with Vastint UK to create an architecture and public domain that will enable the rapid growth of a creative community.”
The yards, too, have been carefully designed to enhance the heritage of this space. Ed Lister, Managing Director, Planit-IE, said: “ As landscape architects, we appreciate the importance of reinforcing Dane’s Yard’s unique sense of character within Sugar House Island. A series of outdoor spaces has been carefully designed, with both intimate dwelling areas for respite and larger, more open spaces for social interaction and enjoyment. We have succeeded in reusing and incorporating reclaimed materials and found site objects into the public realm, as important heritage assets that augment Dane’s Yard’s special ‘sense of place’. A minimal palette of trees and planting complement and enhance the industrial feel of the yards.”
Colliers International and JLL Unlimited are the letting agents for Dane’s Yard.